Sabarimala verdict: Organizations and devotees throb in Kerala

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Thiruvananthapuram: The beating of political parties, right-wing organizations and devotees has intensified in Kerala before the Supreme Court gave its verdict on Thursday to review its verdict allowing women of all age groups to enter the Sabarimala temple. In Kerala, the atmosphere was warmed by protests by devotees and right-wing organizations over the CPI-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) government’s decision to implement the apex court order last year.

The decision of the Supreme Court is also important for the LDF government led by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan as the annual pilgrimage to Sabarimala is going to start just three days later. The gates of this hilly shrine, located in a protected forest area on the western valley of Pathanamthitta district in Kerala, will be opened on the evening of 16 November for the two-month-long Mandalam Makaravilakku. Vijayan on Saturday reviewed the preparations being made by various departments to ensure uninterrupted pilgrimage.

Director General of Police Loknath Behera has said that there will be tight security during this pilgrimage season. During the two-month pilgrimage, more than 10,000 policemen will be deployed in and around Lord Ayyappa’s temple in Sabarimala. The state BJP on Wednesday hoped that the order on the review petitions would come in favor of the devotees, while the Travancore Devaswom Board, the autonomous body which manages the temple, appealed to the people to accept the verdict, whatever it may be.

The apex court on September 28, 2018 lifted the ban that prohibited entry of women between 10 and 50 years of age into the Ayyappa temple and termed the centuries-old religious tradition illegal and unconstitutional.

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